Lions clinic marks 10 years

The Lions Eye Clinic will have served Marion County for 10 years on April 6. During that time, it has provided local eye care service to hundreds of residents.

?There?s not too many Lions Clinics like this around,? said Oliver Parish, board of directors member. ?We are pretty fortunate in Marion County.?

Ophthalmologist Esther Rettig comes to the clinic every Friday.

The clinic provides more services than eye exams.

?A lot of people don?t know the difference between an optometrist, or an optician, and an ophthalmologist,? Parish said.

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor trained to diagnose and treat all disorders of the eye. A minimum of eight years of medical school is required, plus hospital training.

The Lions clinic offers eye exams and prescriptions, cataract surgery and specialty work with diseases of the eye.

?That was the real purpose of the clinic, to provide surgical services right in Marion County,? Parish said. ?Otherwise people had to drive to Newton or even to Wichita for cataract surgery. Then, they had to be seen the next day and that meant staying over.?

Parish said, looking at the statistics from last year, the services the clinic provides go much farther than Hillsboro.

He said people come from as far as Herington for eye care.

?It is available for all residents in the county,? Parish said. ?It is not limited to the Lions clubs. It is for the public in general.?

The clinic began with the vision of Lloyd Harsch, who was pastor of Durham Baptist Church at the time, and R.J. Bartel, Hillsboro, who helped develop the finances for setting up the clinic.

The clinic was possible because of grants from the Lions organization. In 1990, a grant was received from the Lions Club International Foundation for equipment for the clinic.

Another grant was received to purchase equipment so surgeries could be performed at Hillsboro Community Medical Center.

Two or three years ago, a second exam chair was added, allowing staff to see more patients.

Hillsboro was chosen as the site of the clinic because it is centrally located in Marion County and also because Lions clubs are strongest in Hillsboro.

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